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How Nautilus revamps your files workflow in GNOME 3.8

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Discovering Files

To find a certain file till now we had to launch Nautilus and use the search entry. Recursive search also doesn’t work in Nautilus 3.6, so in many situations we had either navigate into folders, bookmark locations or even launch a terminal and use something like <find | grep “myFile”>.

In Nautilus 3.8 recursive search is present and in super fast (at least in my system).  So we can launch Nautilus and start typing.. Or alternatively we can hit <Super> and start typing without needing to open Nautilus, that will save us around 1 sec, and an extra mouse move.

Search Providers

First of, we need to set up the locations that we want Shell to search from.nautilus-search-provider-375
My “gnome” folder includes my GNOME JHBuild files and that is 7GB and 150.000 files. So lets say I want to search for Gnome-Settings folder. In Shell overview I am just start typing..


Clicking a file will open you a new (if you have already one open) Nautilus Window in the current location that the file lies. Clicking on Nautilus+ icon, will open Nautilus in Search Mode. That is good, but not good enough.  Three results are quite limited.

If we hack the Shell a bit..


Now I get 7 results in one row, with a full size display screen. That is better! Of course you can do more than this, like getting a fixed results number per row. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that people should know how to hack Shell! But it is certain that someone will write an extension that let us decide how many results we want and how these will be displayed.

The other nice thing, is how fast this runs. We can further improve the speed of indexing by changing some variables in Tracker according to our tastes.


In general, you will find many useful options in dconf-editor in many applications in GNOME, options that are not available in Apps User Interfaces. So install it and explore it ;)

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  • will

    notice how the top example is easily scannable and you can identify one name out of many similar ones by comparing the shape. even if the second one wasn’t truncated, it’d still be harder to identify what you’re looking for (remember search results are likely to have similar names). using available space isn’t always a good idea if it’s used poorly…that space is better used for file size and the creation/modified date.

    • alex285

      That is true, but only because I didn’t spend time to make a more clear interface. I guess extension authors will come up with great choices there!

      • will

        ah, i didn’t realise it was just a quick example. fair enough :)

    • JJ

      You can install overview tool tip extension.
      Edit: But apparently it is not working in search results

  • alex285

    How your mockup will work with multiple selections? Also about quick changing permissions they could add an option in Sushi.

  • JJ

    I din’t get files in the shell search, only the folders. Logged a bug in bugzilla.